Israel targets fashion industry over underweight models

Israel targets fashion industry over underweight models
From Reuters - October 16, 2017

TEL AVIV (Reuters) - Israeli lawmakers want to tighten a ban on the employment of underweight models and on the undeclared digital slimming-down of fashion images, amid concern that the measures are being routinely flouted even as they are adopted abroad.

The fashion industrys use of wafer-thin models has long been the subject of heated debate worldwide. Critics say the practice promotes an unhealthy body image among women, which can contribute to triggering anorexia and other eating disorders and a preoccupation with unrealistic measures of perfection.

Israel in 2012 became the first country to pass a law requiring advertisers explicitly to identify pictures with photoshopped people and prohibiting the use of models below a certain body mass index (BMI), a measure which expresses a ratio of weight to height.

Other countries including France, a hub of the fashion industry, have since followed Israels lead. But unlike Israels so-called anti-photoshop law, French legislation that takes effect this month imposes fines and jail sentences on those who fail to comply.

The problem with the Israeli law is that theres no punishment, said Israeli photographer Adi Barkan, who was consulted on both the Israeli and French legislation.

So you continue using skinny girls and no one cares, he said, in comments reinforced by a recent Israeli parliamentary report that revealed the ineffectiveness of the existing law.


Israeli lawmaker Nurit Koran,with the backing of 42 other members of the Knesset, the countrys parliament, has now prepared a draft bill she hopes will rectify the shortcomings.

The fashion industry needs to know (it can no longer ignore the law), said Koran, who said she took up the cause after watching the daughter of a close friend struggle with anorexia.


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